As anyone who has ever spent even the faintest bit of time anywhere in The Bahamas already knows, there’s no better place in the world to enjoy conch. The national dish of the 700-island nation, conch is prepared here about every which way you can imagine, each more tasty than the last.
My own personal last taste is what you see pictured here: a fantastic conch salad I enjoyed with my wife this past Saturday at The Wrecking Tree Restaurant & Bar on Green Turtle Cay.
Never heard of Green Turtle Cay? No worries. This tiny corner of the Abacos Islands represents one of the remotest and most uncommon parts of The Bahamas.
Instead of sprawling mega-resorts, Green Turtle Cay has just a handful of small guesthouses, villas and hotels. Instead of cars, visitors to Green Turtle rent golf carts or bikes to tool around the island’s few paved roads at speeds most recreational joggers could surpass with ease. And, instead of chain restaurants serving the same stuff all of us can enjoy here in the States, Green Turtle Cay has authentically Bahamian local places, where someone’s heart goes into everything that gets served.
The Wrecking Tree may have been my favorite of all the places we stopped to sample conch in its various forms due to the rich history of the place.
The restaurant was literally built around a special tree that extends through a porch and seating area. Throughout the mid-1800s, wrecking ships operated out of the New Plymouth Harbour, salvaging sailing vessels that fell prey to the many shallow reefs in the area. At that time, wrecking was big business in The Bahamas, especially in Green Turtle Cay where a good 17 wrecking ships operated. The wrecking tree itself is where Green Turtle’s wreckers would bring their salvaged treasures. From here, under the shade of the tree, the loot was cataloged and prepared for shipment to Nassau.
The real treasures at The Wrecking Tree these days, of course, are the many tasty local dishes served by the friendly staff.
In addition to the fabulous conch (fritters, cracked, burgers or salad), you can also enjoy such seafood favorites as crawfish fritters, fried fish or crab ‘n rice, a highlight of the daily specials during our visit. Chicken, ribs and pork chops are also available, while sides are headlined by that much-loved Bahamian staple, mac cheese, which most of us “down-islanders” know as macaroni pie.
Oh yeah, and there’s also this…
The view from the screen-enclosed dining area at The Wrecking Tree is about as much of a draw as the great food. From here, my wife and I watched as a steady stream of boats came and went for about an hour. As the sun began to set, the ferry from Abaco Island made its last stop of the day. A powerboat swung by, offloading a large group of young visitors. Smaller dinghies ferried supplies out to larger sailboats at-anchor. A few more patrons happened in the door.
Just as it has for more than 150 years, the wrecking tree stood watch, shading some of Green Turtle Cay’s greatest treasures…
The Wrecking Tree Restaurant & Bar, like everything else on Green Turtle Cay, is not hard to find. It’s located in the historic town of New Plymouth along the water, just a few steps inland of the ferry landing. For more info, call Tel: 242-365-4263.
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